Teens begin Mississippi-to-Memphis march in honor of King

Wearing aqua-colored T-shirts and hydration backpacks, a group of teenagers on Saturday launched a 50-mile walk from northern Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee, a tribute to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Posted: Apr 2, 2018 1:45 AM

DUNDEE, Miss. (AP) — Wearing aqua-colored T-shirts and hydration backpacks, a group of teenagers on Saturday launched a 50-mile walk from northern Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee, a tribute to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Escorted by police cars, support vans and a portable restroom, six middle school, high school and college students, along with two adult mentors, began their march in rural Dundee. Their journey along Highway 61 will take them past Mississippi Delta fields and farms, then the casinos of Tunica, before they meet friends and family on the Tennessee-Mississippi line Tuesday.

The decision to walk 50 miles (80 kilometers) was deliberate; the distance represents one mile for each year since King was gunned down while standing on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. The teens, who are from Pearl and Richland, will discuss issues related to race and civil rights as they make the slow trek to Memphis.

They range in ages from 14 to 19. Five are black. One is white.

"It's a way to show people that you can have friendships with different people of different backgrounds, different races, on all levels," said Damonte Steele, a 15-year-old sophomore at Pearl High School.

Steele is in ROTC at Pearl High School with his 18-year-old friend Benjamin Rutledge, who is white. Rutledge said King "changed a lot of our viewpoints here in America."

"I like doing events that challenge me and improve my character, and allow me to meet people too," Rutledge said.

The group gathered at the post office in Dundee, one of many small communities nestled in the flatlands along the Mississippi River in the northern part of the state. Their police escorts inched along as the band trudged down the side of the road known as the Blues Highway.

They plan to walk about 10-15 miles per day until they reach their destination. The group will take part in community meetings after they finish for the day, and will spend their nights in hotels, said organizer Jarvis Ward.

The teens will convene a youth rally Tuesday. On Wednesday, they will take part in activities at the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the site of the former Lorraine Motel.

"Our hope is to not only honor all that Dr. King achieved, but to be part of continuing his work," said Ward, president of the Pearson Foundation, a community service organization based in Pearl. "We want to show how racial justice, economic justice and racial reconciliation can be advanced in and by the next generation."

Motorists slowed down Saturday to look at the eight people walking on the highway. One trucker honked his booming horn.

Linda Stanton watched the group as she and her dog stood outside her trailer, one of the few structures stationed along the highway in the Dundee area. Stanton, 54, said the teens' effort was special.

"Smart kids trying to help the future," she said.

Teens begin Mississippi-to-Memphis march in honor of King

By ADRIAN SAINZ, Associated Press

DUNDEE, Miss. (AP) — Wearing aqua-colored T-shirts and hydration backpacks, a group of teenagers on Saturday launched a 50-mile walk from northern Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee, a tribute to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Escorted by police cars, support vans and a portable restroom, six middle school, high school and college students, along with two adult mentors, began their march in rural Dundee. Their journey along Highway 61 will take them past Mississippi Delta fields and farms, then the casinos of Tunica, before they meet friends and family on the Tennessee-Mississippi line Tuesday.

The decision to walk 50 miles (80 kilometers) was deliberate; the distance represents one mile for each year since King was gunned down while standing on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. The teens, who are from Pearl and Richland, will discuss issues related to race and civil rights as they make the slow trek to Memphis.

They range in ages from 14 to 19. Five are black. One is white.

"It's a way to show people that you can have friendships with different people of different backgrounds, different races, on all levels," said Damonte Steele, a 15-year-old sophomore at Pearl High School.

Steele is in ROTC at Pearl High School with his 18-year-old friend Benjamin Rutledge, who is white. Rutledge said King "changed a lot of our viewpoints here in America."

"I like doing events that challenge me and improve my character, and allow me to meet people too," Rutledge said.

The group gathered at the post office in Dundee, one of many small communities nestled in the flatlands along the Mississippi River in the northern part of the state. Their police escorts inched along as the band trudged down the side of the road known as the Blues Highway.

They plan to walk about 10-15 miles per day until they reach their destination. The group will take part in community meetings after they finish for the day, and will spend their nights in hotels, said organizer Jarvis Ward.

The teens will convene a youth rally Tuesday. On Wednesday, they will take part in activities at the National Civil Rights Museum, located at the site of the former Lorraine Motel.

"Our hope is to not only honor all that Dr. King achieved, but to be part of continuing his work," said Ward, president of the Pearson Foundation, a community service organization based in Pearl. "We want to show how racial justice, economic justice and racial reconciliation can be advanced in and by the next generation."

Motorists slowed down Saturday to look at the eight people walking on the highway. One trucker honked his booming horn.

Linda Stanton watched the group as she and her dog stood outside her trailer, one of the few structures stationed along the highway in the Dundee area. Stanton, 54, said the teens' effort was special.

"Smart kids trying to help the future," she said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5269106
DeSoto332627
Madison229756
Harrison215232
Rankin214628
Jackson199434
Jones177457
Forrest164053
Washington149232
Lauderdale132988
Lee123930
Neshoba119788
Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
Lowndes98932
Warren96427
Scott95517
Bolivar94832
Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
Lafayette88111
Holmes84747
Leflore84059
Pike83232
Grenada81320
Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee41910
Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
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